Fermenting food has been a process used for centuries to keep the food edible longer by killing off the bacteria that would otherwise destroy it. Famous fermented foods include beer, kefir and yogurt. Fermented foods are great for your overall health as they will improve your digestive health by increasing the number of good bacteria in your digestion. There is no better way of naturally increasing the amount of good gut flora than eating fermented food as it contains so many natural probiotics. While you may have never heard of them, these are the 8 healthiest and most nutritious fermented foods out there:
Based on tea, Kombucha is another strange fermented food. Kombucha can be black or green and flavored with various herbs and fruit. All Kombucha contains a small amount of alcohol that gets produces in the fermentation process, and some types have been known to contain up to 3% alcoholic content. The drink comes closest to apple ciders in both taste and alcoholic content and depending on how it is made it can have plenty of beneficial health effects.
The fermented cabbage known as Sauerkraut is extremely rich in Vitamins B, C and K as well as all sorts of good bacteria including leuconostoc and lactobacillus. Sauerkraut was first made by peasants who needed to preserve food for the winter time but as the time went, it was introduced as a part of diets around Europe all year long. Fermenting cabbage is extremely simple. All you need to do is shred it, put it in some unrefined salt until its nice and juicy and then store it in containers. This way, cabbage will remain edible for up to half a year.
Another fermented cabbage dish, Kimchi is in many ways similar to Sauerkraut. Kimchi originates from Korea, which goes a long way to show how international cuisines tend to come up with similar ways of keeping food preserved and cooking it. Kimchi does include some other ingredients like radish, shrimp and red pepper and some ginger is also often included, making a much richer dish than Sauerkraut. There are many different ways to prepare and cook Kimchi but the dish is usually made by sinking Chinese cabbage and other ingredients in salt, killing the bacteria. The good bacteria than work to convert sugars into lactic acid, fermenting the food and it takes several weeks for Kimchi to fully ferment and be ready for eating.
Miso is a Japanese soybean paste made to add flavor to soups and other similar dishes like dips and sauces. This dish is also made of soy beans, by using salt and a special fungus to ferment the beans. The dish is extremely salty but also very nutritious and good for your cardiovascular health. The dish also has powerful antioxidant features and is one of the main ingredients in the Korean Cheonggukjang soybean paste.
5. Lacto-Fermented Pickles
Lacto-fermentation is used to create some of the healthiest and most delicious pickles out there. Using non iodized salt to ferment your cucumbers or other vegetables is what lacto-fermentation requires. This process will lead to your vegetables becoming rich in Calcium as well as antioxidants and good bacteria which will greatly benefit your digestive and overall health. The process of fermentation is extremely simple and almost any type of vegetable will work including cucumbers, cauliflower, carrots, tomatoes and others. Simply add salted water into a jar with the veggies and leave it like that for a few weeks. This will make your vegetables fully fermented, tasty and nutritious.
The Indonesian dish made of soy is made using a controlled fermentation process on coy beans. The resulting product looks like a cake or vegetarian burger and is an extremely protein and vitamin rich food with a host of dietary fibers. Tempeh and Tofu, both Indonesian in origin are two very popular and common vegetarian dishes made of soy and used in thousands of international cooking recipes.
7. Coconut Yogurt
Most yogurts are made by fermenting cow milk and adding other stuff, but coconut yogurt is certainly one of the oddest and most intriguing fermented foods. In addition to the probiotics contained in pretty much any kind of yogurt, coconut yogurt also contains a number of other great nutrients like calcium, magnesium and potassium as well as powerful antibacterial and antiviral features. If you are allergic to dairy or simply prefer the coconut flavor over the regular yogurts, coconut yogurt is a great source of nutrients, good bacteria and other banefits.
A very common fermented drink, Kefir is extremely rich in probiotics, and being milk based also very rich in Calcium. Kefir is made in a similar way to yogurt, using bacterial yeast and the resulting product is a mix of yeast, lactic acid, protein and lipids. All brands of Kefir contain lactobacillus as well althought they may significantly differ in type and quantity. A single night is sufficient to ferment Kefir and the drink actually contains a small dose of alcohol.